Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not Just Another Monday Night: Broken Social Scene Plays The Fillmore

There might be some debate as to the "validity" of Broken Social Scene touring without a wide number of its members. Questions about strength of performance, or staying true to the original, or (let's be honest) a reduction in charisma and star power. Well, debate no further: Broken Social Scene is doing just fine. In fact, better than fine. On Monday night the band delivered close to two and a half hours of some of the best music we've heard in quite a while.

The band is touring on Kevin Drew's new solo effort "Spirit If...", and so it was not a surprise that much of the setlist was occupied by that disc. This was actually quite a treat: as we've mentioned before, the album is amazing. Moreover, the live format gave the band the ability to experiment, rock out, and really give the songs more life than they have on the record. In particular Gang Bang Suicide and Backed Out On The... were particular treats.

For those more partial to the BSS end of things, Drew wasn't about to let you go home disappointed. There was a positively scorching version of Superconnected, as well as a slough of classics: Cause=Time, It's All Gonna Break, and even a rocked out version of Lover's Spit. Drew even let the performance get a bit loose as he worked his way through an ultimately fantastic version of Ibi Dreams Of Pavement.

The best shows are often difficult to remember, and leave you feeling like you could go back every night to get a little more, and hear something you may have missed. Monday was one of those nights. As Drew closed out the show with a group singalong of When It Begins, it became clear that the entire crowd would gladly have returned for many more nights. I guess we'll have to wait til Brendan Canning's album finds the band back on the road.

Many, many, more photos at the h.a.d. flickr feed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Malkmus+Dylan = Bliss

You may have read a bit about the new Dylan Biopic "I'm Not There" that features 5 different actors (including Cate Blanchett!) playing their own take on Dylan. Well, the other side of the equation is that the soundtrack is a Dylan-cover fest featuring a bunch of great artists.

One such artist is none other than Stephen Malkmus - Malkmus stands to have a landmark year coming up. What with the awesomeness of these Dylan covers, and a new album on the way, it seems he can do no wrong (at least to my ears). On top of that - lucky you - he'll be at GAMH on December 19th - Merry Christmas!

Stephen Malkmus - Ballad Of A Thin Man
Stephen Malkmus - Maggie's Farm

Monday, October 29, 2007

While You Were Out: Liars

So in being out of the good ol' city by the Bay for three weeks, we here at h.a.d. also managed to miss the Liars/Interpol show at the Bill Graham Civic Center. Sadness. However, all is not despair: All Shook Down has a nice review (sadly lacking any mention of Liars) and video of the show here, and Liars leaked four demo mp3s for free on the web last week! The demos can be found via a mailing list signup here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween-o-matic: Scissors For Lefty At GAMH

The beauty of going to see local bands in their hometown is that it often leads to unexpected and unusual gigs that really leave you walking away feeling like you saw something special. Tonight was one of those nights.

The band started the night in fully costumed regalia, and managed to create a completely irreverent environment for the duration of the night. Apparently they had flown back especially for this show in honor of their manager's birthday, and were set to make the most of it. A few songs in to the set, said manager was brought on stage to break a pinata, and accordingly balloons and candy were thrown into the audience.

The band managed to get their single Ghetto Ways out in the beginning of the set, and from there on out it was clear that they were there to have a good time. They a range of songs off both of their albums, but focused primarily on the more recent Underhanded Romance. While the newer stuff was tighter and better known by the audience, it was good to hear the tunes off of Bruno as well. In particular it was great to hear a reworked "Hey Man U Well Is".

In truth, it was a crowd of hometown fans, and there was nothing but love in the room. Clearly this fact was not lost on the band, who managed to give a kick ass performance, while at the same time interacting with fans, hamming it up, and visibly enjoying themselves for the duration of the set. In comparison to the set I saw this spring at Noise Pop, the band seemed tighter, more confident, and revitalized.

After seeing this show, I remain convinced that Scissors For Lefty is a sleeping giant waiting to be unleashed on the American public. They manage to deliver substantive, worthwhile rock, while at the same time maintaining a sense of the fun and excitement is that is lost on so many bands. It's great to see them smiling, enjoying the music, and interacting with fans. Who knows when exactly they will "make it big", but in the meantime San Francisco's glad to have them.

Scissors For Lefty is back at GAMH December 4th with Juliette Lewis, as well as bringing in the New Year at the Bottom Of The Hill.

More photos at the H.A.D. Flickr Feed.

About Last Night: Caribou @ Slim's

Having spent the better part of the last month listening to Caribou's new disc Andorra, I was quite pumped for last night's show at Slim's. It seemed like a great combo: fantastic band with a great new album, intimate venue, and a live act that had been quite hyped on its cross country travels. A lot of that did wind up to be true: the band's live act is incredibly solid and well orchestrated, and the crowd at Slim's was psyched to be seeing the band in such an intimate setting. To my ears, unfortunately, the band just wasn't hitting the sonic heights achieved on record.

Specifically, one of the biggest pieces of Andorra that has really grabbed me is all the synth and vocal layers. They contribute to make the record have its distinctively eerie combination of 60's pop and experimental rock. They lend a lot of the character that makes the record stand out from the crowd. Last night both were conspicuously low in the mix. Moreover, much of the synth work that was present was driven by a laptop, rather than played live. While I realize that it's a necessary evil at times, it's still always a disappointment to realize you're not getting something completely "live".

Ultimately, the band did deliver an inspired, energetic, drums/bass/guitar combo, with a kickass light show to boot. It's just that something about the performance left me feeling a bit empty, and like I'd rather go home and flip on the record. Maybe I'll do just that.

More photos at the H.A.D. flickr feed.

And....we're back!

As promised, we managed to make it back into town last night in time for this weekend's 1-2-3 punch of Caribou/Scissors For Lefty/Broken Social Scene. In the next few days we'll have reports and photos from all of those shows, as well as some other snippets that may have fallen by the wayside during the hiatus. It's good to be back!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Out Of Commission Til 10/26

Sorry kiddies - due to a family emergency we here at H.A.D. are calling in sick for the next three weeks. We'll see you back here on the 27th for Caribou!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Elvis Costello + Clover Playing "My Aim Is True" at GAMH 11/8

Elvis Costello will be stopping by the GAMH to play his seminal album "My Aim Is True" in full with original album backing band Clover! Presumably the show is spurred on by the recent deluxe reissue of the album. Clover were a band that acted as studio musicians on Costello's first disc, and were originally from Mill Valley. The group broke up, and the former members went on to form the Doobie Brothers and Huey Lewis And The News. So, I guess this is a story of non-local boy and local boys reuniting. Should be any amazing show! It looks like the ticket site has two shows listed on the same date - early and late perhaps? Tickets go on sale this Sunday, October 7th.

mp3: Elvis Costello (and Clover) - Alison

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sondre Lerche @ Swedish American On 11/11

After opening for Air at Bimbo's, Sondre Lerche will be returning to the city this November to play at everyone's favorite venue-without-a-liquor-license, the Swedish American Music Hall! Lerche is a great song writer, and generally a super-charismatic guy in the live setting, so this should be a treat. Tickets are on sale now: $18, $20 at the door.

mp3: Sondre Lerche - You Know So Well (Live)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Jimmy Buffett To Play The Fillmore

I think I would speak for most everyone when I offer a resounding "WTF?" in response to the recently announced Jimmy Buffett show at the Fillmore. Buffett will be playing with his Coral Reefer Band on October 18th, and tickets go on sale next Monday, the 8th.

Buffett's shows are usually reserved for much larger venues like the Shoreline, and usually attended by those interested in heavily imbibing and/or smoking substances. That being said, Buffett's quite a showman, and I think that seeing him at such a tiny venue really could amount to a once in a lifetime experience.

Here at h.a.d., we will unfortunately be attending to family issues back East for the next few weeks, so we'll be on hiatus. Enjoy the show, Parrotheads.